A Compound may Increase Protective Effects of Vaccines in Older Adults

Older adults are at high risk of being severely affected by infectious diseases but vaccines are less efficient as compared to younger adults. Alsaleh and colleagues had shown that in older mice the immune cells may become less efficient at removing cellular debris, a process called autophagy. This leads to a poorer immune response.

In the current study, researchers observed samples from young and older people participating in clinical trials for vaccines against the respiratory syncytial virus and hepatitis C virus to check if the same events happen in human T-cells. The results revealed that autophagy increases in T cells from younger people after receiving vaccines, but this response is less profound in older people. The T-cells form older individuals were examined and it was revealed that these cells have decreased levels of a natural compound called spermidine.

Spermidine boosts the T-cell function. Supplementing these older immune cells with spermidine in the laboratory restored autophagy to the same levels seen in T cells from younger people. Recently a small clinical trial showed promising results that spermidine improved cognitive function and did not have any harmful effects in older adults. The researchers concluded that spermidine may help increase the protective effects of vaccines in older adults, which could be particularly useful for COVID-19 since older adults are vulnerable to it.

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Ref link: https://elifesciences.org/articles/57950